Welcome to the first of many MMATorch Awards for 2018. MMATorch staff have voted in a wide array of categories, with the top vote-getters receiving the awards. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments or Tweet us @MMATorch.
MMA Story of the Year
The MMA Story of the Year award goes to the story that our staff thought was the biggest and most impactful story of 2018.
Winner: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor at UFC 229 and the post-fight brawl
There are many stories that went into UFC 229 and what happened afterward. It really was a year-long narrative that goes back to when Conor McGregor threw a dolly at the bus Khabib Nurmagomedov was riding on during UFC 223 fight week in Brooklyn. McGregor was disciplined in New York and the fight was booked for October in Las Vegas. The buildup was heated and the fight was intense, with Nurmagomedov taking a fourth-round submission win, seemingly putting the rivalry to rest.
That wasn’t the case, of course, as soon after the win, Nurmagomedov jumped the cage and went after McGregor’s cornerman, Dillon Danis. Chaos ensued and members of Nurmagomedov’s corner went after McGregor in the cage. Nurmagomedov was escorted before he could even officially be announced as the winner and still lightweight champion.
Nurmagomedov and McGregor’s cases are still pending with the Nevada Athletic Commission so neither man can be booked to fight until the issue is resolved.
The brawl sparked debate about what kind of responsibility the promotion had for booking the fight so soon after what McGregor did in Brooklyn, potentially setting precedent for big stars to behave badly and be awarded big fights. Views on how Nurmagomedov should be punished vary greatly depending on who you ask.
The fight did huge business, setting a UFC record of around 2.4 million buys on pay-per-view. The fight and everything leading up to it and after it was more than deserving of being this year’s top MMA story.
-The rise of ONE Championship
–Donald Cerrone’s win at UFC Denver and celebrating with his baby in the cage